By Carol Garcia
As you are reading this, the final meets for 2008 MouseFest are winding down. Once again, this gathering of Disney fans was even bigger and more exciting than last year’s. There were 953 registered attendees according to the official MouseFest website, and perhaps a few more who found themselves joining meets at the last minute. This is the first year Magically Speaking was registered as a separate community, and hosted a meet. TheMouseForLess and Magically Speaking had a great time through our five days at Walt Disney World.
The trip for us began with TheMouseForLess Welcome Meet. About fifteen of us gathered at the Contemporary Resort to begin our tour of the monorail resorts. Luckily, this meet was inside because the day began with a deluge of rain usually reserved for mid-summer in Florida. The monsoon outside didn’t dampen our spirits, and we toured, posed and chatted our way through the three resorts. Old friends caught up with each other and new friends were made.
The next meet on TheMouseForLess agenda was Friday’s Everest Meet. Our group, along with Tagrel, hosted this event. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 people grabbed FastPasses and conquered the Yeti together. OK, we weren’t exactly together as it took several train-loads to get us all on the ride, but we were together in spirit!
Friday also was the Magically Speaking Wishes Premium Fireworks Cruise (perhaps we need a shorter name for that one!). Forty-nine of us gathered at the Wilderness Lodge to get to know each other and get some goodie bags. We were even lucky enough to be joined this year by Wish child Braydon and his family, who were staying at Give Kids the World.
Our group braved another cold Florida night for the most amazing view of Holiday Wishes. Over the years, our boat drivers have come to expect our group. This year, they managed to tether five pontoon boats together so we could truly watch the display as a group. We bundled up enough to really enjoy ourselves. It was a good thing there were hand warmers in the goodie bags!
Saturday brought the biggest meet of the week: the MegaMeet. This year the meet was held at the conference facilities of the Yacht and Beach Clubs. Over 1,000 attendees visited a vast number of tables to visit with companies we know from prior years, as well as some that are new to Mousefest. The Magically Speaking and TheMouseForless table featured a prize wheel, and we were happy to greet everyone who stopped by to visit us.
Finally, Sunday was our day for two more meets. A group of us toured the remarkable facilities of Give Kids the World. Although many of us have heard of this amazing place, seeing it is very fulfilling. Everything in the facility is designed to make the trip amazing for the families who stay there. If you ever get a chance to tour, I would highly recommend it.
The last meet on our agenda is TheMouseForLess Suite Retreat. This invitation-only meet was held in a Grand Villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. There is nothing quite like a last night relaxing with friends in a most amazing setting. This is what Mousefest is all about.
So, is that all there was to Mousefest? Absolutely not! Although this year, I chose to stick with TheMouseForLess and Magically Speaking events, everyone is welcome to attend any meet they wish. There is no need to be a member of a particular community to join in the fun. The spirit of welcome is something that is at every meet. Friends who only see each other occasionally, but talk online often get together and find they often have far more in common than a mutual love for the Mouse.
If you weren’t able to attend this year (or even if you were), we have a long list of pictures from this year’s meets. You can begin your browsing here: http://www.themouseforless.com/community/mflfest/Mousefest-2008/2008MFLfestPictures.shtml. More pictures will be added as we get them.
Ready to start planning for next year? The 2009 MouseFest dates are December 6-10 (4 Night Wonder Cruise) and December 10-14 (Land Events at Walt Disney World).
See you there!